How To Choose Shrubs For Full Sun
Some shrubs are fans of the Beatles song, "Here Comes the Sun." Well, it seems so anyway. They will gladly lift their leaves and soak up all the rays they can. Others are less happy about it, and some prefer to exist in the shade.
Choosing the right shrubs for full sun can be the difference between lush, comfortable, rapidly growing shrubs or sun-scalded, burnt, and even dead plants. We’ll cast a little light on the subject.
What Does Full Sun Mean?
Plant folks generally call six or more hours per day 'full sun'. It could be further refined to say that a plant that enjoys full sun will usually tolerate afternoon sun as well, when the sun is at its most potent and temperatures are typically the hottest.
‘Partial sun’ is usually defined as somewhere between 4-6 hours of sunlight. There is no actual definition. Four hours of afternoon sun might be classified as partial sun, and so might six hours of morning sun.
Plants listed as liking partial sun will generally want a couple hours of protection from the full power of the afternoon rays. Plants that prefer partial shade will benefit from the morning sun but will not enjoy exposure to the post-lunch solar power.
Keep these sun-related needs in mind when choosing shrubs for your property.
How Often Should You Water Plants in Full Sun?
Since full sun plants are usually more drought tolerant, they don’t need to be watered as often as you think. During especially warm summer weeks, you can water your full sun shrubs once every 3 or 4 days to help the roots dig deeper. You won’t need to ensure that the top layer of soil around your shrubs for full sun is constantly damp.
Why Are Some Shrubs for Full Sun and Partial Sun?
Often, plants are listed as suitable for full or partial sun. What does that mean? Sun tolerance or need is not an absolute. A plant that thrives in full sun may still do fine in partial sun, especially if exposure is in the afternoon. Growth may be a bit slower or flowering a touch less vigorous, but it shouldn’t be a big deal. There is no “best” shrub for full sun, as they will all thrive in different environments.
Those who have traveled the country know that the power of the southern sun seems far greater than the weaker rays that reach the ground in the north. Gardeners in the northern part of a given plant's range can and should choose locations with more sun, and those in the south should choose sites with a bit of afternoon relief, all else being equal.
A shrub that is listed as ‘full or partial sun’ might enjoy full sun in Massachusetts but partial sun in Georgia.
Best Full Sun Plants
Take a few moments throughout the weekend and look, at different times of the day, at the locations where you plant to plant. Jot down some notes. When does the site receive sunshine, and when is it in the shade from trees, buildings, or other obstructions? Full sun shrubs are not the best plants for every environment.
Think about the time of year as well. The sun is 'lower' in the sky in fall, spring, and winter. Locations that are full or partial sun in June may be partial or full shade in April, September, or December.
Once you have confirmed your planting location's sun status, check out a few of our recommendations below.
Best Full Sun Evergreen Shrubs
Evergreen shrubs are excellent landscaping plants. They continue to provide interest and habitat year-round. Check out our flowering 'Shishi Gashira' camellia for an evergreen, full sun shrub with loads of bright, pink spring flowers.
If you are looking for a larger full sun evergreen shrub, 'Blue Point' juniper is the ticket. A sun-lover, it grows 12 feet tall with a pyramidal shape and all-season bluish green foliage. Truly a winner.
Deciduous Shrubs for Full Sun
'Black Knight' is a beautiful butterfly bush that thrives in full sun. Drought tolerant, it draws butterflies and other pollinators every summer with its radiant deep purple blooms. A mid-sized shrub, it typically reaches 6-8 feet high.
Look to our hydrangea selection for big, showy blooms and gorgeous foliage. Many are full sun to partial sun-loving plants, especially for northern gardeners.
What is the Best Low Maintenance Shrub for Full Sun?
Once their root systems are established, many of our shrubs for full sun will not require much maintenance, aside from light pruning and occasional watering in dry climates. For example, Winter Gem Boxwood Shrubs are evergreen and resistant to pests and disease. Once planted, this small shrub for full sun will remain beautiful all year.
Hardy Ground Cover Plants for Full Sun
'Grey Owl' juniper is an excellent evergreen shrub for full sun that creates taller, more wild-looking, or natural groundcover. It will grow in full or partial sun and is an outstanding habitat for songbirds.
Landscaping Shrubs for Full Sun
Due to the wide range of colors and sizes you can choose from, full sun shrubs are great for landscaping all kinds of environments. Flowering shrubs for full sun make great ornamental plants to decorate your exterior. Meanwhile, some other full sun shrubs are large and evergreen, making the perfect perimeter privacy plant.
Full Sun Privacy Plants
New yards and established homes alike can benefit from some privacy screening. 'Sky Pencil' holly is a full sun holly that can be used to create a hedge without taking up a lot of space. It reaches 8-10 feet tall but is only 2-3 feet wide. A row of 'Sky Pencil' hollies is perfect for dividing the front and back yard, screening an unsightly view, or marking a property boundary.
If you love the classic look and neat appearance of boxwoods, our Japanese Boxwood shrub is an excellent full sun choice for an evergreen privacy hedge. They can be kept trimmed and develop into a dense, thick screen.
Start shopping for the best shrubs for full sun at Perfect Plants today.